Green Goodness

The knitterly goodness coming my way is remarkable. I truly have been richly blessed by the friends I’ve made in our online knitting/crocheting community. This treasure is now mine, merely because I openly coveted it when Mary posted it on her blog as a finished object! Not only did the bag arrive, but wrapped inside it was Knitting for Peace (thanks, Amazon, for the link). I have picked that book up a few times, and now can’t wait to get started on a hat for Amy’s charity project for her hometown. Right now, hats are my favorite charity project, and Amy’s Warm Up Winchester is definitely my go-to giving spot right now. (Note: I have yet to get a hat done, but I am going to correct that in the next few days! Will you do the same?) Many, MANY thanks, dear Mary, for the perfect gifts. I’m taking the bag along next time I go shopping, to leave a few of those plastic thingees I recycle behind.

Next, I’m going to break from my usual habits and post my Sockza socks. They’re done, and they certainly count for the Summer of Socks, as one was knitted entirely on vacation! The photo could be better, but it’s threatening to storm, so you get the idea. I hope my sweet pal will like them! They were done in the Knit Socks! pattern featured earlier in the blog, but this time, I used fingering weight yarn, Misty Mountain Farm’s Blue Ridge Yarn Jubilee. The colorway is called Evergreen, but I am excited about this yarn because the farm is in an area near and dear to my heart. It’s also a soft, yummy yarn, and a dream to knit up! (I hope they fit…) Of course, if you’ve been reading my blog, you probably know the yarn is available at The Loopy Ewe.

Last, but not least, I present my first non-square dishcloth. It was done in the Bernat Handicrafter Shades of Green my first swap spoiler sent me. I have found THE pattern for my variegated yarns. It was fun, quick and easy, and I wish I could remember where I found it. (In a link on one of your blogs, I’m sure.) At any rate, thanks whomever, because I adore this pattern! The yarn? Eh, not so much. It was less splitty than the Sugar ‘n Cream I usually use, but it somehow felt bulkier while knitting. Less flexible, perhaps? But, I wanted to try it, and now, I have, so there’s that to cross of the list. Mark should be happy; only a few yards remain, so it was a stash buster too!


I’m just checking in to let you know that I’m beginning twelve days of running around like a chicken with my head cut off. I’ll be checking email except from the 15th-18th, but I don’t know that blogging will happen much.

Why do I swap, and crazier still, co-host swaps? So I can meet people like Paula! I do believe that particular photo she’s using as her logo is of my Fred’s uncle, who was the Hush Puppy model about 10 years ago. I love it! (And why didn’t I think of that? Mugsy’s literally got his back to me. Guess I should have been Crup Knitter instead of KnitTea, huh?)

In sock news, I have begun Sockza sock #1! (aka: SoS pair #2!) I won’t be showing photos, just in case, because I do want to surprise my pal. I can proudly announce that the yarn was wound with my birthday swift and ball winder, by – get this, Anne! – my husband! He finds it all very interesting. It appeals to his inner mechanical nerd, I guess? I then had to weigh it, so – wise man, that one – I can confirm that this yarn I’ve not used before will indeed make two socks for my pal. I got lucky and got a pal with little feet, so I’m sure it won’t be a problem, but… he’s thinking like a knitter, yes?

Now, back to that crup thing. I hear some of you asking, “What’s a crup?” Well, in honor of the cinematic event, the debut of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, I’m tempted to have a contest, but as it would be a month or so before you got a prize, I won’t. I’ll just tell you.

Are there HP fans out there who don’t know? Giggles… Don’t be embarassed. Even folks on my HP forums often ask. This, my friends, is a crup:

See the forked tail? That’s the only way you can tell a crup from a Muggle Jack Russell Terrier. Those of you who own crups know that sometimes, wizards dock the crups’ tails short so you can’t see the fork, but trust me, you *KNOW* if you own a crup.

Still unsure? Well, let me see if Mugsy – a pure-bred crup – can help. Is your JRT just, well, not as compliant as others you know? Do you brag that his disobedience is actually a sign of his superior intelligence? Does he train YOU? If so, you too probably have a crup. Please refer to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them for more information.

Yep. That’s our crup, preparing to launch himself into HIS hot tub. Don’t worry animal lovers; we changed chemicals three times until hubby found one that is safe for human and animal consumption; the sales rep drank a big ol’ glass right from the display for him, and he was sold. That’s the other test; crups won’t allowed themselves to be owned by ordinary folks. They seek out those owners with just enough magical ability to appreciate them, which in Muggle talk means spoil them rotten.

PS – Cass, the photos are for you, and anyone else who loves photo-rich posts!

Three down…

…and who knows how many to go. My third pair of socks, done on two circs. I like that method. I’m not sure I’m crazy about this pattern, but that’s okay. The loose leg will never get too tight during a long day. My trusty, beloved sock blockers just didn’t do this pattern justice. I can say that I’m learning to graft, and I enjoyed knitting with a blend, rather than 100% merino.
Pictures might be slim for a while. I’m casting on for my Sockza socks next. I also want to cast on my Tofutsies June Sock of the Month, but I need #2 circs, and those are on order from Knitpicks, along with several books, all courtesy of my mother inlaw’s birthday money to be used on knitterly goodness.
This was also my first pair for the Summer of Socks. Clearly, I’m not entered in the most socks in a summer contest.

100 Post Milestone

Funny how this whole knitting community/blogging/swapping thing grows. I picked up knitting in late November last year after Anne’s Thanksgiving visit. After a few almost gentle nudges, she convinced me to start a blog so I could sign up for the Knitter’s Treat Exchange. Now, only a few months later, wordy, chatty me has 100 posts, or rather, will once I post this one. Thank you, each and every reader, especially those whom left comments. I try to respond, but if you don’t leave an email address, there’s a chance I’ll forget to answer in the blog. And a special thank you to the wonderful Anne, for sharing your passions with me, even when I’m being a gooblette and need remedial instructions.
Today, Mark and I ran away. He announced last week that we were both going to be off today, which in a family business is rather brash. He didn’t ask his boss – his father – or mine – his mother – but simply wrote our names on the calendar and then made his announcement. No good reason, really. We took his truck over to program the two new remotes, but his cousin would have made arrangements without us both taking the day off, and most certainly, Mark could have driven to Elkton alone. Still, it was a great break, a fantastic treat, and getting to spend time with Gary at work (nothing like bring your cousin and his wife to work day, huh?), surrounded by people who obviously like and respect him was icing on the cake. (If you’re in Virginia, Dick Myers is a great spot for auto needs. If you need parts, ask for Gary and tell him Chan sent you.)
But you don’t pop in to hear me sing the praises my childhood friend/inlaw of distant sorts and/or his employer, do you? And as much as I adore Gary, he’s not exactly 100th post material, so…

After hanging out, getting the remotes and a few other minor parts and repairs and having lunch, we headed home, in a slightly roundabout way. Last week, in a moment of weakness, I did some stash increasing. I stumbled onto a blog flaunting the Tofutsies Sock Club, and, well… You know what happened, don’t you? Turns out one of the best prices I found was one county away, at a shop I’d been told had the best sock yarn selection in the area. (Which means anything about 45 miles from Charlottesville, in any direction.) So, I ordered (and couldn’t stop at just the sock club, but you saw that coming too if you’re a regular reader), and waited. Nothing. Sigh. Finally, I get the dreaded email… I’d selected a color not in stock. (It happens to the best systems, at the best stores, so that’s hardly a complaint, okay?)

So, a few emails back and forth, and Mark and I had a date at Carodan Farms with Caroline. We pulled up in front of the cute shop, which is just steps away from what I assume is her home, and before we were out of the truck, Caroline was coming up the walk. She was friendly, helpful, gracious, and merely smiled as Mark did his best bull in a china shop routine and knocked various notions off the rack, one pair of mittens in the floor, and who knows what I missed. My only complaint is that it is a good thirty minutes beyond Limerick Fibers, which is a good 25 minutes from my house, so… It will be a special treat to stop in, and I would love for each of you to come visit so I have a good reason to go!

First, the reason I found them, the Tofutsies June Sock Club. (Took long enough to get to the yarn, didn’t I?!) South West Trading Company doesn’t seem to give their yarn fun, funky names, but you know I love the pinks, white and black here! It’s a limited edition color, and if I understand correctly, it’s only available in the June Tofutsies Sock Club. The good news is, your own local yarn shop might carry it, but if not, perhaps you’ll give Caroline and Carodan Farm your business. $16 got me the yarn – which I believe I paid $16.99 for in a Richmond yarn shop – and the exclusive “Wild Kat” pattern which looks incredible. (Sorry folks; all non-sock knitting is likely to STOP once my tank is done, which might be tonight or tomorrow. I just have too many great sock yarns and patterns, and Summer of Socks certainly doesn’t discourage me! I did wisely include a few pairs of socks in my Christmas KAL list.)
Next, the yarn that I actually ordered BEFORE the Tofutsies, because it was on the front page of their website, and it called my name. I’m pretty sure I already have some Claudia’s for ME in my stash, but I consider buying her yarn part of my efforts to support another Virginia woman in business. After all, she is based about an hour from here, so that makes her local, right? That’s an exclusive colorway called watermelon, which the artist dyed just for Carodan’s SoXperience, which I just missed this year, dang it! Caroline had the CUTEST baby hat done in the worsted weight, and I see myself ordering it in the name of a baby hat for the friend loving bright colors but enjoying the mystery of her first pregnancy, so… There’s really enough green in there that I think my friend would plop it on her baby’s head, in his/her John Deere onsie, and think it was just wonderful. See the flecks of black in there? I know you do – look in the right-most part of my photo. That makes SEEDS when the yarn is knit up! Dontcha’ just love it!?

Then, Sue had convinced me that I *NEEDED* my own hank of Mountain Colors Bearfoot yarn, and being the impressionable novice that I am, I heeded her advice. Meet my elderberry (the color I really wanted, so I’m glad whatever I tried to order wasn’t really available), which isn’t at all neon, as the flash implies. There was a storm moving around us, and I guess this one shot got flashed… It’s a great, dark, fall-looking hank of deep jewel-tones that wants to be a warm pair of socks for this winter. (And yes Sue, it’s right here within reach, and I can’t stop petting it.)

This solitary ball of Wick waved at me too, and I’m a sucker for friendly yarn. It had no friends. There was a great selection of Wick, but this colorway was alone, and I couldn’t just leave it there. Any suggestions as to what to do with it? It’s only 120 yards, but I’m hoping that maybe I can squeeze a pair of toe-less yoga socks out of it. Truly, I’d love other suggestions. Wick had caught my eye somewhere, probably on one of your blogs, but of course, I don’t remember where, or what you were making…
Last, and honestly, least exciting, are the patterns I picked up. Caroline had probably the best selection of well-organized single patterns I’ve seen. (I’m still searching for the one Anne bought at Limerick’s that I liked too.) I love this little Fiesta Fishbone Lace sock pattern, and for once, I won’t have to stop a pattern well in advance of the written instructions to make myself a short sock! Then, there’s another Oat Couture, Auntie’s Afghan for baby. I even admitted to Mark as he raised his eyebrows at checkout that I probably wouldn’t knit it up, but I actually had bookmarked that pattern back in the spring, before I overdosed on blankies. Knowing how much I’m liking the OC vest pattern I’m doing now, I couldn’t resist. So, as a reward for those of you who made it this far, post a comment about my purchases today, and I’ll use the random number generator to select a winner. One entry per person, and best of luck to each of you!

Sockin’ Along

And the first Sock of Summer marches on! I love two circs, although there is still some moving of stitches, but that must be the norm, regardless of what kind and how many sticks you use to make said sock. However, the sock would likely be done if I hadn’t decided I really want to finish that vest before it’s too hot to enjoy it. So, the sock will become my portable project and the project I grab when my hands want a bit of a break from the somewhat tedious stockinette and garter stitches of the vest, and/or from the weight of the vest. Bamboo is a light, fun yarn, but in vest proportions, it still weighs a lot!
I also have a bit of housekeeping to do here on the blog. Anne has opened sign-ups for round two of the dishcloth exchange, which is aptly called Dog Days of Summer. Of course, the boys think Auntie Anne must have named it just for them, and they’re thinking up some fun contests and prizes based on that theme! (Mugsy is *SURE* the wet, white dog is an artistic rendering of him.) Please sign up before midnight on June 30th and join us in this bit of summer fun.

Next, being the joiner that I am in the online knitting world, I had to join Michelle’s Christmas KAL. I haven’t even started thinking about Christmas knitting yet, so it’s good to have a friend and a KAL to smack me into reality. Tune in here for an upcoming list, although I suspect there will be a few mystery items, as my friends and family have started to check in here too. The more the merrier, and Christmas is all about being merry, so do join me there too.

We now return to the knitting already in progress…

Ready, set, SOCK!

You’re only getting a post because the dogs are still out, and I can’t cast on and hop up and down to let them back in. As soon as they get back from their perimeter check, we’re off to the first Summer of Socks sock, and my first sock on two circs! See? Cat Bordhi’s Columbine Peak and the Fortissima Cotton Color my Felted Bag pal sent me. (One more time, THANK YOU, oh still secret pal!)
If you need me, I’ll be with my sock.

What to do when there’s no sock to do

(Mugsy and I scared a squirrel when we went out on the back deck for the photo. Sorry!) The Oat Couture vest in Plymouth’s Royal Bamboo is a little yellow-greener than my monitor shows. (Those point guards are coming in handy already, Felted Bag pal!) I’m knitting it on my Bryspun needles, and I like them a lot. Great tip, some flex to them, warmer than metal… but not my Knitpicks Options. I do like those best, but these are a nice straight needle. I’ll have to order them in a #7 for dishcloths.
Before I forget again, happy Bloggerversary, Nancy! She’s having a little contest too, and while I’m not sure my answer is the right answer, I’m trying anyway! Pop over and wish her well, will you?
The best news is that tomorrow, Summer of Socks begins! I will be casting on my first two circs. sock, maybe even tomorrow morning, if I can get to bed at a decent hour tonight, which isn’t likely. (A meeting, and another tomorrow night, DARN IT!) I will decide firmly on the yarn tonight, and a pattern too, so that all I have to do as soon after 5AM tomorrow as possible is pick up the yarn, the circs and cast on!

All By Myself

Well, Mugsy’s at my side, as usual, but Anne and Ingrid have headed back to Atlanta, and Mark is at the firehouse for duty. It’s going to take a bit to get back into our steady routine, but the upcoming week will make it easier, as it is our meeting week – Monday, Wednesday and Thursday for both of us. It’s always a treat to have Anne here, and it was especially nice to get to not only meet her mom, but to spend time with them both!

Their visit actually ended as all good yarn-focused visits should, at a yarn shop, but more on that later. I’ll backtrack to Friday night. Before a very bleak, disappointing meal at Ludwig’s, Charlottesville’s German restaurant, we stopped in at Michael’s, where Anne and I both bought more Patons SWS. Michael’s is markedly cheaper for the SWS, at least in this area. It’s such a great yarn, and I can’t wait to try out Natural Denim (on the right) and Natural Navy (on the left). I’d also like to pass along Devon’s very common sense advice that didn’t occur to my own little mind – it’s probably not a good plan to try a restaurant you haven’t eaten in before with guests. Duh? It’s safe to say that none of us were impressed, and Mark will have “I told you so” rights indefinitely, as he did suggest a restaurant we frequent rather regularly, but I ignored him.
The Virginia yarn crawl ended at Limerick Fibres (or Fibers… I’ve seen it spelled both ways), my favorite local yarn shop. They never cease to amaze me with their down-home friendliness, organization and selection. I made a couple of purchases I can’t/won’t tell you about for swaps, but the bulk of my shopping was for me. The Cascade Cotton Rich just jumped into my hands as soon as we walked through the door. I love the color and the softness, but have no grand plan for it. It could be a face cloth, but I don’t think Mark will be excited about a hot pink one, and I use the pouf thingees, so who knows what it will become? There are some little babies on the way, and one already here whom I owe a gift, so maybe it will find a purpose in baby knitting.

Evidently, the last stop with Anne and Ingrid had me thinking blue, because the vast majority of my purchases were blue. I fondled the Plymouth Boku (wool/silk) last time I was there, and I think it might be a Noro Kureyon alternative. I have a plan for the little 99 yard skein, but it involves someone I know reads my blog, so only Mugsy knows my secret, and unlike Duke (of Bush’s Baked Beans fame), he REALLY isn’t telling. Y’all know I can’t come out of a shop without sock yarn, and I am happy that Lola (the owner) has added more sock yarn! The Sockotta in color 14 NEEDED to come home with me too. Can’t you just see me knitting with it at the beach next month? Same with the Cascade Fixation. It wants to be a darling little pair of yoga socks. Mary found one pattern for me, and my daily knitting calendar also had a footie version earlier this week. Yum!
I just couldn’t stop crawling though; on our way to a very early dinner with the inlaws, Mark and I stopped in It’s a Stitch for one last item for a swap box. I was shocked that he wanted to go in. He was dressed for crew at the firehouse, and I think he just wanted to see how the ladies who own/run the shop would react. I don’t know the nice lady who was working, but she was polite, and even at two minutes to closing, took a moment to show me how to do socks on two circular needles, which you’ll get a report on later this week. Say it with me… I must not start new socks until Thursday. I must not start new socks until… You see, that’s when the Summer of Socks begins, and that’s when my first socks on two circs will take to the needles! I just need your help. This will be the first time since my first sock (all of what, a few weeks ago!?) that I won’t have a sock in progress. Add in my overwhelming urge to try the needles and yarn my Felted Bag pal sent me, and truly, I need all the help I can get!
So, no crawling tomorrow. It’s Fathers Day, which means heading to Mark’s paternal grandfather’s for a cookout with the extended family, followed by a relaxed evening at home with lots of knitting on some non-sock item. I think my Oat Couture vest to be done in the Plymouth Royal Bamboo is calling me, but I’m really have a hard time hearing it over the roar of the circs and Trekking…

Let the record show…

All the knitterly goodness that arrived on Monday in the anonymous box was from my Felted Bag pal. I don’t even have my bag yet, but already, I’m nominating her as a super swapper. My apologies to my HSKS pal (hello? are you out there?), and to Kirstin, who is, after all, “just” a Ravenclaw prefect, not even my prefect, I think.
So, I’m feeling special. I’ve got Tibbers Sox spoiling me rotten in Sockapalooza, Michelle, the mistress of niceness sending packages just because, and now, my still anonymous bag spoiler too.

I have to tell you… I went as far as analyzing handwriting, trying to figure this out.

So, with that straightened out, I’ll share some yarn crawling results. For more details, you can see Anne’s blog and/or Amy’s blog. (They both brought cameras. I didn’t. I was more concerned with finishing my dishcloth for my pal…)

First stop – Sunday. Ben Franklin craft store in Waynesboro, VA. Not generally something to make you go ooooh, but they do have a great selection of Cascade 220, which Anne adores. I found some squooshy organic cotton to make another cloth for my hubby, and some Caron felting wool, probably to make another Squatty Sidekick. (Amy wasn’t along on that adventure.)
The cotton is Pakucho, 100% Certified Organic Cotton, made in Peru. It’s a Trendsetter’s yarn. It has a lot of information on its label, and I’m all about reading up on details, so that will be a treat when I get around to knitting with it. (No time soon; I’m in love with the Sidekick, and the Summer of Socks begins in just 8 days… wanna bet the first pair will be done on two circs!?)

The Caron Felt-It was a bargain and I loved the color – Wildflowers, the named it – so I couldn’t resist. It’s not as soft as the SWS by any means, but I really wouldn’t expect 100% wool to be so soft. It will be fun to see how yet another yarn felts up too. So, those are the sole purchases from the first stop on the Virginia Yarn crawl, but both were too good to leave behind.

Stop #2 – Tuesday, Old Town Alexandria – Knit Happens. I’ve surfed their website several times, and I think Amy probably gave it a rather thorough review. I enjoyed petting several yarns, but there was nothing in the right color in the right yarn for me, so believe it or not, I left empty-handed.

Stop #3 – Also Tuesday, The Capitol Hill store of Stitch DC. Very friendly, helpful staff. The employee went so far as to call another LYS in the area to see if they had the KA dpns I desired. (They did not, but the yarn crawl continues…) Not another Stitch location, but the competition! How sweet is that?! They had several brands of yarn I’d never seen before in person, and the first must-have was the Scarlet Fleece, hand painted not too far from me! I couldn’t resist the Wrangler colorway. I predict I’ll be hunting down more of that in the future.

I also couldn’t leave behind the Poems, even if the colorway is a bit too pastellish for my liking. That’s color #553, if you check out their color chart. However, there really wasn’t a colorway that was just to my tastes, so I just picked up something that will allow me to experiment with yet another self-striping yarn, because you know I’m on a campaign to find something that I like better than the loved-by-many-but-not-me Noro Kureyon!
Tomorrow, Anne, Ingrid and I will head to Jamestown, and do some yarn crawling in that area, and maybe hit a shop or two on our way home, if it’s not too late to visit Richmond…

Can’t Help Myself

Hi. My name is Chan, and I am a join-aholic. I’m also well on my way to being a sockaholic. I’d already planned to finish my Sockza (my own pet name for Sockapalooza 4) socks while I’m on a working vacation of sorts in July, so why not?! No, there’s no crime in that, but Sue pointed out that ordering more sock yarn before my Loopy Loot arrived coupled with a late-night run into Barnes and Noble to buy Sensational Socks (my third sock book) just might make me want to block off some free time for sock therapy. Do you think it would be a bad idea to drop a sock in progress in my felted Booga and knit during that session?
Um, yeah. It’s that bad. Even my need for line-by line coaching, twice, during sock #1 didn’t stop the seduction of the sock. And guess what readers?! Fate WANTS me to buy more yarn, probably SOCK yarn! I got a call from one LYS, saying that part of the yarn I had to order for hubby’s summer afghan (probably to reach completion for spring 2008, because you know… socks call) is in, so I’ll pick that up in the morning on my way out of town for the afternoon. But see, I’d already set my heart on swinging into the other LYS in town to pick up a few things (if I don’t say it, does it still indicate a problem?), so I’ll be able to hit both shops before my little afternoon on the road.
I hope to get home in time to catch the Derby. I’ll miss going to a rockin’ Derby party in cool shoes with a fancy hat, but that’s okay. Think of the money I’ll save to spend on… things.
So, I’m sitting here enjoying an empty office, with the satisfaction of knowing it’s been a good week at work, wondering why the sock very truly captivated me. I’d figured out a few weeks ago that I like comparatively quick projects, that I enjoy *NOT* garter stitching into oblivion, but even if you allow for those to somehow synergize each other into some big knitting mojo, I’m not sure it explains the intense case of sock seduction I have. Why do y’all love socks?
Speaking of socks and joinings, do I have sock spoilers for the Hogwarts Sock Kit Swap and Sockza? I have nice ladies to spoil for both swaps, but no one seems to want to spoil me. Pout.